Stare decisis

The doctrine of judicial precedent is based upon the latin maxim 'stare decisis et non quieta movere'.

This maxim is commonly shortened from 'stare decisis et non quieta movere' to just 'stare decisis'.

The maxim when loosely translated means 'stand by what has been decided and do not disturb what has been established'.  The principle of 'stare decisis' is a clear and important feature of our legal system.  It is supported on the basis that it leads to fairness in that like cases are to be treated in a similar way.  It is also justified on the basis that it ensures that the law is clear and certain. 

This may be so but there are those who may say that such a rigid system can in itself lead to unfairness when the law cannot accommodate the needs of individuals who are subjected to harsh decisions which do not provide them with a remedy.


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